We researched and tested several methods on how to prevent, reduce, or guide the crack formation in banana bread. This has been a hot topic in the food space this year and it couldn’t be easier to do at home without any special tools or equipment.
The best part? These tips don’t only apply to banana bread! Apply these tips to any breakfast loaf- lemon loaf, gingerbread, and even pistachio loaves to make your bakes look stunning!
Why Does Banana Bread Form A Crack?
Banana bread is a quickbread- a type of bread or baked good that is ‘quick’ to prepare as it does not contain any yeast. These breads are leavened with baking powder or soda so they don’t require a wait time for the yeast to provide lift.
Quickbreads crack as baking soda and baking powder are activated and release carbon dioxide. These tiny gas bubbles rise and provide lift in baked goods. The crack on a quickbread loaf results from leaveners releasing carbon dioxide gas and the dough expands. The perimeter of the loaf bakes and sets first, then bakes inward to the center.
The loaf may continue to rise after the top has set and the interior batter continuing to expand and rise is what causes the crack. The crack is wet batter from the center of the loaf rising through the already set exterior.
Banana bread and other quickbreads forming a crack is a sign that your batter has risen! It’s to be expected and perfectly normal.
It’s a craggy, textured little ridge that is an excellent place for icing or glaze to adhere to.
Researched Methods For ‘Guiding’ The Crack
In the world of baked goods, we’re all after beautiful bakes that taste delicious and look amazing. As the crack is a necessary part of baking quickbread loaves, we were after ways to tame it.
These five tricks supposedly encourage the loaf to crack where you want with a uniform and minimalized appearance. We put them all to the test.
#1 Add a line of cold butter pieces down the center of the loaf.
#2 Pipe a line of softened butter down the center of the loaf.
#3 Place a line of oil down the center of the loaf. (We used a bench scraper coated with oil and then dipped it in the batter)
#4 Score the loaf down the center with a bare butter knife. (Similar to baking up a loaf of sourdough, run a butter knife along the center to provide a location for CO2 to escape.)
This method worked pretty well. The crack was minimal and defined down the center.
#5 Score the loaf multiple times to reduce and nearly prevent the crack.
This actually worked well also! We made three lines down the batter and the cracks were very small.
We were pleasantly surprised with how these loaves turned out- these are some professional-level cracks with minimal effort. Keep this tip in mind the next time you reach for a bunch of overripe bananas.
Which Technique Worked Best?
While the cold butter method formed a gorgeous, wide crack we found the oil-dipped bench scraper method to be the best of the bunch.
Additional Banana Bread Tips
Place the baked loaf on a cooling rack and leave to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before cutting for slices that hold their shape.
For the tallest loaf of banana bread use an 8×4″ loaf pan instead of a 9×5 pan.
For extra big banana flavor, add a teaspoon of banana extract.
Use a parchment paper sling in your loaf pan for easy removal.